21 July: EU guidelines

The EU’s decision is a direct consequence of the recklessness and incompetence of the present government.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
EU guidelines
Sir, – With regard to “PM working to get EU to freeze publication of new guidelines on West Bank, east J’lem” (July 18) by Herb Keinon, Israeli leaders must speak to the European Union in language it understands.
Then it must proclaim loudly that Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem is legal under international law based on the League of Nations’s Mandate for Palestine of 1921.
It is a grave injustice and the height of racism to call it illegal and to boycott Jewish-owned businesses in these areas.
This government has not adopted the Levy Report on the legality of Israel’s presence in these areas, and never contradicts the Europeans or Americans when they call Jewish settlement illegal. That is exactly why the EU did what it did – the Europeans respect only those who respect themselves.
LARRY BIGIO Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – The EU’s decision is a direct consequence of the recklessness and incompetence of the present government, which allows the state to function without a foreign minister and willfully ignores the disarray within the Foreign Ministry.
To compound this dysfunctional style of governance, the prime minister has abdicated any responsibility for his own ministers’ irresponsible public declarations that flatly contradict the official government line – two states for two peoples. Indeed, no one really knows what the prime minister actually wants, so the international community has no problem making decisions that do not serve Israel’s interests.
Until the government formulates and articulates a comprehensible policy, Israel will be unable to challenge the Palestinian narrative because, if nothing else, the pro-Palestine lobby skillfully maintains a consistent theme.
Sir, – Who is Europe to preach to us about occupying the territory of another people? When the UK cedes Gibraltar to Spain and Northern Ireland to the native Irish; when France gives back Alsace Lorraine to Germany; when Poland returns Silesia and Prussia to Germany; and when Romania gives up Bessarabia to Russia, please remind me to pay attention to the Europeans’ superior moral standards.
The European borders of today were determined by territorial disputes or wars that were won decisively by one side. History then moved on.
Sir, – All I can say is, thank God that at long last the European Union has hit Israel in the face with its true intentions, waking up our right-wing (“Right-wing ups pressure on PM,” July 18).
The politicians said that before the EU’s decision they were prepared to tolerate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu making limited gestures to the Palestinians so as to bring them to the negotiating table. But now they see that there is no point in such steps because international pressure will come no matter what Israel does.
Why could not our right-wing MKs see what was so obvious? We have woken up and smelled the coffee. Let’s not forget the smell, or the sting of the slap to the face.
Sir, – Who said the EU isn’t strong on foreign policy? Of course, it hasn’t been able to decide whether Hezbollah is a terrorist organization despite years of evidence, but look how decisively it has determined for us exactly where our borders should be.
The most appropriate comment is one I saw on the Internet, to the effect that if France is so eager for a Palestinian state, it should give the Palestinians France. They can call it Frankenstine.
Haredim and soldiers
Sir, – I don’t know how other readers reacted to “Leaflet seemingly calls for murder of haredi soldiers” (July 16), but I feel vindicated.
Since the attacks on ultra- Orthodox soldiers began some weeks ago, I have opined to family and friends that the rabbis attached to the IDF’s haredi units should instruct their troops that if they are confronted by a menacing crowd, they should load their rifles and use them according to the standard self-defense guidelines the army provides for soldiers under threat anywhere else.
There is a rabbinic principle: “Harog v’al yeihareg” (Kill and don’t be killed) – if one is beset by someone who, he fears, has come to murder him, he shall murder the other person rather than forfeit his life.
I believe that the appearance of this leaflet supports my contention.
Sir, – The thundering silence of haredi MKs in light of the despicable physical attacks on religious soldiers (“Haredim attack third religious soldier in a week,” July 15) and the ongoing abuse hurled at ultra-Orthodox young men who elect to serve is beyond belief. Still, another voice is not being heard – the vox populi.
When confronted with governmental policies that are widely perceived as perilous (Oslo, Gush Katif, etc.), mass demonstrations are organized to voice the righteous outrage of the people. Is there any greater symbol of our sovereignty than the IDF, whose mandate is to protect and defend every citizen? Why is there no public outcry in support of all our soldiers, and ringing denunciations of all who would lift an evil hand against them and those who would give them legitimacy by their silence? I, for one, stand up proudly to raise my voice in protest.
Sir, – Kol hakavod to the Kibbutz Movement for offering to protect haredi soldiers who enter Mea She’arim (“Program launched to protect haredi soldiers,” July 18).
What a sad sign of the times that these soldiers have to be protected from other haredim when all they are doing is walking through their own neighborhood.
I guess it will take a while for the Messiah to come if we can’t get along with each other even now.
We’re already here Sir, – Our friend Sally Berkovitch rightly bemoans the fact that Israel has waited far too long to get its act together in the hasbara (public diplomacy) field, and missed so many opportunities to promote its good image to the world and combat the misinformation and downright lies that circulate about our country (“Waking up,” Letters, July 16).
What she ignored, however, are the 114 grassroots hasbara groups in Israel and around the world operating under the umbrella of CoHaV (Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers), of which our organization, the British Israel Group, was a founder member. These groups have been laboring away for years – in the main without any funding – to disseminate positive information and fight the lies.
We give talks abroad, write letters and articles for newspapers all over the world, meet with visiting politicians, offer hospitality to visiting groups (especially Evangelical Christians), and provide information for pro-Israel activists abroad to use in talks, seminars and conferences.
Sadly, our efforts to work with the Foreign Ministry largely have been ignored, and where useful contacts have been made there has been a complete lack of continuity.
Good luck to Danny Ayalon and his group, The Truth about Israel. Even with the huge amount of funding it has at its disposal, it is going to be fighting a tough battle. We, the members of existing hasbara organizations, wonder whether he will work alongside us instead of duplicating what is already being done.
NORMAN and LOLA COHEN Jerusalem The writers chair the British Israel Group (BIG)